AFP: WASHINGTON — The global economic bounceback from the COVID-19 crisis will downshift this year as countries struggle with rising prices, high debt loads and divergent recoveries in which poor nations are slipping behind wealthier ones, the leader of the IMF will warn on Tuesday.

While the Washington-based crisis lender has hundreds of billions of dollars in new firepower to help countries recover from the catastrophe, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said factors from rising food prices to unequal vaccine access were taking a toll.

“We face a global recovery that remains ‘hobbled’ by the pandemic and its impact. We are unable to walk forward properly,” Georgieva said, according to prepared remarks released by the IMF ahead of her Tuesday speech at Bocconi University in Milan.

The Washington-based crisis lender will release new growth forecasts next week, but Georgieva warned “we now expect growth to moderate slightly this year” from the six per cent forecast in July, and “the risks and obstacles to a balanced global recovery have become even more pronounced.”

These include a widening divergence between rich countries and poor countries in the trajectories of their recovery from the pandemic.

“Economic output in advanced economies is projected to return to pre-pandemic trends by 2022. But most emerging and developing countries will take many more years to recover,” Georgieva said. 

“This delayed recovery will make it even more difficult to avoid long-term economic scarring — including from job losses, which hit young people, women and informal workers especially hard.”